A leisurely canter to the English Premiership title has instead turned into a mad scramble. Manchester United looked all set to retain their crown until last Sunday's 4-4 home draw with Everton threw the race wide open.
The last time Everton scored four or more goals against United was 28 years ago, a game which the Toffees won 5-0.
Not for the first time, United's defence has come under criticism, with much of the venom directed at off-colour left-back Patrice Evra.
However, former United great Denis Irwin, who in his playing days excelled in the same position that Evra operates in, has jumped to the skipper's defence.
When The New Paper asked him in a one-on-one interview at Shangri-La Hotel if Evra is still good enough to play for United, he replied: "No doubt. He's the captain.
"(Nemanja) Vidic has been a big loss this year. We had a new goalkeeper (David de Gea) as well. Jonny Evans has played very well this year.
"If you take away the two games where they conceded four goals against Everton and six against City, United have the best defensive record in the league.
"I think Evra has played very, very well."
Irwin, 46, feels that the Frenchman adds more than just quality to United.
He reckons Evra, 30, who has won four league championships with United since joining them more than six years ago, also improves the team with his experience.
Said Irwin: "He is providing the leadership.
"He offers that stability back there, the experience that you need.
"Rio (Ferdinand) has experience, but Evra has been the only ever-present figure this season for United.
"He has been a real plus. You're not captain of Man United for nothing."
His guidance could prove crucial for United in the lead-up to next Tuesday morning's (Singapore time) gigantic clash between United and City at the Etihad Stadium.
A home win will lift City to the top of the Premiership table on goal difference, with just two games remaining.
Such is the drama of this campaign that it shouldn't come as a surprise should a former United player scupper the Reds Devils' hopes.
Carlos Tevez's City career was thought to have ended when a livid City manager Roberto Mancini claimed that he had defied his orders to come on as a substitute in a Champions League clash with Bayern Munich last September.
But Tevez has gone from an exile to a key figure in City's title charge, following manager Mancini's change of heart.
He is on a hot streak, having scored four goals in his last two league games.
Irwin described Tevez as a "quality player who has done very well for City since he came back".
He's not sure though, if United manager Sir Alex Ferguson would ever allow a player-manager relationship to deteriorate to such an extent in the first place.
He said: "You'll never quite know what happened unless you're in the City camp.
"Fergie's biggest asset is man management. I don't know how he would have handled it (the Tevez incident), but things might have materialised differently.
"In this day and age, more than 50 per cent of being a good manager is being able to handle players, because of the different nationalities, temperaments and cultures.
"He's very good at looking after players, so you can draw your own conclusions from that. "Fergie had some characters in the past. He had Eric Cantona and he was able to handle him."
Denis Irwin was appearing at the Singapore leg of the DHL Champ19ns Trophy Tour to celebrate Manchester United's winning a record 19th league title last season. DHL, the club's Official Logistics Partner, is transporting the trophy almost 48,000 miles to 27 destinations around the world. For more information, visit www.dhlchampionstrophytour.com.
This article was first published in The New Paper.